1

picayune

noun pic·a·yune \ ˌpi-kē-ˈyün \

Definition of picayune

1 a : a Spanish half real piece formerly current in the South
b : half dime
2 : something trivial

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Examples of picayune in a Sentence

  1. our lives don't amount to a picayune in the great scheme of things

Origin and Etymology of picayune

Occitan picaioun, a small coin, from picaio money, from pica to jingle, of imitative origin


2

picayune

adjective

Definition of picayune

: of little value : paltry; also : petty, small-minded

picayunish

play \ˌpi-kē-ˈyü-nish\ adjective

Examples of picayune in a Sentence

  1. They argued over the most picayune details.

  2. the picayune ponderings of a commentator who steadfastly believes other cultures are inferior to our own

Recent Examples of picayune from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'picayune.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Did You Know?

In the 19th century, in Louisiana and other southern states, a picayune was a small coin (specifically, a Spanish half real) with a low monetary value. The coin's name derives from picaioun, a word that means "small coin" in Occitan (a language spoken in Southern France). It ultimately derives from the Occitan word pica, which means "to jingle" and which was created to mimic the sound of coins jingling. The real as a monetary unit fell out of use, however, and picayune joined two bits in the category of small amounts of money whose name eventually came to be used instead for things that are paltry and small.

First Known Use of picayune

1836


PICAYUNE Defined for English Language Learners

picayune

adjective

Definition of picayune for English Language Learners

  • : not very valuable or important



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